The relevance of functional amino acids for taurocholate transport by the sodium-dependent taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide Ntcp was determined by site-directed mutagenesis. cRNA from 28 single-points mutants of the rat liver Ntcp clone was expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Mutations were generated in five conserved negatively charged amino acids (aspartates and glutamates) which were present in nine members of the SBAT-family, in two nonconserved negatively charged amino acids, in all eight Ntcp-cysteines, and in two threonines from a protein kinase C consensus region of the Ntcp C-terminus. Functional amino acids were Asp115, Glu257, and Cys266, which were found to be essential for the maintenance of taurocholic acid transport. Asp115 is located in the large intracellular loop III, whereas Glu257 and Cys266 are located in the large extracellular loop VI. Four mutations of threonines from the C-terminus of the Ntcp by alanines or tyrosines showed no effects on sodium-dependent taurocholate transport. Introduction of the FLAG® motif into several transport negative point mutations demonstrated that all mutated proteins besides one were present within the cell membrane of the oocytes and provided proof that an insertion defect has not caused transport deficiency by these Ntcp mutants. The latter was observed only with the transport negative mutant Asp24Asn. In conclusion, loop amino acids are required for sodium-dependent substrate translocation by the Ntcp.